Tuesday, June 24, 2014

More Death of Desire- pt.2

Continuing with this examination of Matthew 19:12.  A rarely examined text. A text that exists in ALL manuscripts of Matthew.  A text with NO textual variants.

This time with a brief examination of the second category that Jesus addresses. This time, man as the maker of eunuchs as opposed to God as the maker of eunuchs.

Now hang in there guys, this is where it gets squeamish.  But unlike AFV I won't dwell on the groin shots, OK?

Now, from Wiki you may observe man as the maker of eunuchs in numerous points in time.  Man as the maker of eunuchs long before and long after the time of Jesus.  Man as the maker in many times, many places, many ways and for many reasons.  So this is not some remote hypothetical from Jesus.

Yet Jews were not the makers of eunuchs.  Jews had far more respect for God's design.  Jews did not injure men like that.  In fact, if a woman even came close to injuring a man's testicles- her hand was to be "cut off" ( Deut. 25:12).

I suspect that the eunuchs of Isaiah and Acts were such injured men.  Slaves and POW's deprived of their testicles.
A castration often depriving them of their life (often severing a major artery).  But always depriving them of their desire for women or power.  Putting their desire to death.  And putting their ability to sire to death.

So, let's briefly look at these deprived men of Isaiah and Acts.

In Isaiah 56:5 we see the suggestion that the eunuch had something "cut off".  Yet, we are assured that this concerned eunuch who is now a "dry tree" is still eligible for an everlasting name.  A name which was not "cut off" with his inability to generate children.

Now, the eunuch in Acts 8 was of a similar concern.  This eunuch was reading scripture surrounding Isaiah 53. This eunuch could identify with being "sheared".  Could identify with "humiliation". Could identify with having no "generation".  Could identify with having a sense of life "removed".

And we see that those eunuchs were blessed in that identification.  Blessed with life through their identity in Christ.

Which is not to say that you should desire to have your desire to 'go forth' removed.  Or desire to have your ability to 'multiply' removed.  That will not bring you to an identity in Christ (and I don't believe that Christ was a eunuch).

Again, such emasculation will not make you an heir with Christ.  It may only preserve your hair.

That is the final category that I believe Jesus addresses in our next post...


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

More Death of Desire- pt.1

Having speculated on this obscure and contentious aspect of Genesis 3:16 in our previous post, let's engage with the less obscure or contentious words of Jesus in Matthew 19:12.  Words rarely indulged in.

Let's engage with His expansion on others who are 'dead to desire'.  His expansion on others who do not wish to be physically intimate. Folks that are listed in the Bible several times.  Folks with anomalies.

Folks that the Pharisees were familiar with.  And folks that we should be familiar with (but not too familiar :).
Folks that clearly set precedents.  Folks that don't subscribe to the precepts of 'going forth and multiplying'.
Folks not that interested in 'going forth'.  And folks incapable of 'multiplying'.

Folks with anomalies that illustrate an important principle.  A principle of accepting God's design.  A principle of not 'kicking the pricks' (Acts 9:5 KJV) so-to-speak.

Again, this post is not kid stuff (although the subsequent verse in Matthew certainly is). As forewarned, this is Adult Content. Not a post for squeamish prudes.  Or those with misguided piety.

Again, this post is about God-given desire.  Indeed, desire that was awakened in a perfect man at the very earliest opportunity (according to Calvin).

Yet, I will try my best not to awaken in you any 'inopportune desire' (cf. Song of Songs 8:4) with these posts. I will try not to awaken a desire that cannot easily be curbed in a desirous man like myself.

But rather, hopefully awaken you to a greater respect for this God-given gift of desire. A gift that should awaken many to an intimacy much more glorious ahead.  And awaken your pity for those currently without this gift or eternal hope.

In this first installment we will consider the first category that Jesus addresses.  We will consider the "eunuchs who were born that way".  We will consider those that have had essentially no desire or ability from  birth. Those that were mysteriously born that way.

Now, those mysteriously "born that way" are often classified as inter-sex.  That is, most have dual genetic citizenship at birth.  They can identify somewhat with either sex. Others have far more subtle citizenship at birth.  Others are unidentifiable. "Smoothies" as-they-say in the eunuch community.

Now, our genetics haven't changed all that much since Jesus (or a much earlier Sumerian creation myth which also suggests 'smoothies').  Yet the point that Jesus makes, is that God creates functionally impaired genetics in our lives as well.  Genetics which may not be healed in the course of our lifetime.

That not only did God make "male and female" (Matthew 19:4), but that God also makes some folks who are testicle and ovary impaired (and desire impaired as a result). That 'those impairments are God-given, and that those impairments should NOT be overlooked when considering marriage'.

Indeed, it is strongly suggested by Jesus in this text that 'such desire impaired folks should NOT marry'.  This point seems rather moot- since few of those folks would actually want to marry anyway.

And such folks generally accept that marriage restriction.  Accept it since they are incapable of the "one flesh" (Matthew 19:5) duty that is incumbent on marriage. They accept that they are incapable of heterosexual intercourse. They accept that they are essentially 'dead in bed' (note the etymology of εὐ.: εὐνή ‘bed’ + ἔχω- BDAG lexicon).  They accept that they are desire-challenged and would not be up to the challenge.

To that end, we see that such desire-challenged folks were often assigned other important and challenging positions in various historical and biblical passages.  Positions suited to their lack of desire.

We observe two prominent positions in Esther 2:14, 15. We see a prominent position in Jeremiah 38:7. And a prominent position in Acts 8:27.  Not only that, but in the Douay-Rheims and the King James Version of Genesis 37:36- we see that the prominent Potiphar may have also been a "eunuch" (much to the intense frustration of Potiphar's "wife"- Gen 39:10) .

But Jesus was using these eunuch anomalies to illustrate His point.  To illustrate His point of being faithful to your actual design.  Of being faithful to your designer.  And for his disciples be faithful to the "one flesh" covenant that they were committed to.

As a criticism Jesus claims, 'Those desire impaired folks can accept their unmarried state- Matthew 19:11. Likewise, you unimpaired folks should accept your married state'- v.12.  In essence Jesus tells His disciples, 'Let the unhappily married man accept  his frustrated desires- after all, eunuchs can accept  their lack of desire'.

For God is the maker of male and female, frustrations and eunuchs.
Now go forth and multiply, dear disciples... unless you are a eunuch!

Up next:  Man as the maker of eunuchs.